Computerizing and automating old generation lines and machines for the production of dry pasta is an extremely advantageous process, particularly for medium and small pasta factories. It makes it possible to manage and connect at the best all the production steps, monitoring their progress and optimizing production. In this article we talk about information technology applied to pasta factories and their real advantages.
Information technology in the management of pasta factory production lines
They don’t do things the way they used to do once… How many times have we heard that. Of course, this sentence cannot be valid for everything, yet in the field of dry pasta industrial production machinery it is not so far from reality. Here are some important considerations taken from a speech by Vittorio Cogo on the italian sector magazine “TECNICA MOLITORIA”.
The technology for the production of dry pasta is increasingly characterized by the automation of process lines. After the drying technologies based on the high and very high temperatures that characterized the 70s and 80s respectively, we moved on to the information technology era that characterizes pasta production technology from the 90s to the present day.
It has definitely replaced all the previous production line management systems within pasta factories, and affirmed the irreplaceable nature of electronic logic supervision, not only in the single machine or on the single production line, but on the entire production activity of the pasta factory, from the storage of the stocks of raw materials to the storage of the final product, from the organization of the types and times of production to the sorting of the packaged and packed product, from the choice of raw materials to the programming of operational departments. This means that this type of management ensures a complete functional interconnection between the various company sectors.
The automatic control system for dry pasta lines and machinery
Entering more specifically in the “automation” topic we can say that an automatic control system is characterized by three basic groups, namely:
- group of devices for detecting functional parameters and field control
- parameter processing group
- supervision system
First group is composed of all the elements that detect the quantities to be controlled, such as: temperature and humidity probes, inductive sensors for controlling movement, inverters for controlling motor speed, microswitches for monitoring the alarm and safety system .
Second group is composed of the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) system which takes the inputs sent by the instruments in the field, processes them and sends the command outputs to the process. This device consists of an electronic processing unit equipped with a memory and built around a microprocessor.
The supervision system consists of an interface software program that allows the operator to interact in a simple and intuitive way with all the process parameters, monitoring at all times the operation of the entire production chain.
The operator can set all the production parameters simply by recalling from the PLC memory the so-called “recipes”, prepared for each of the various pasta formats foreseen by the production program of the line.
The system will automatically reset the line at each format change, in just a few seconds, thus relieving the technologist from a task as heavy as it is delicate.
In addition, the system will intervene automatically in the event of anomalies detected along the line, independently providing for the various corrections and / or warning the operator of the intervention performed or of the simple detection. In extreme cases the system will block the operation of the component or machine in question, or even of the entire line if the detected anomaly exceeds the safety levels.
Why automate older generation machines: the advantages
The extremely positive aspect of this automation technology is that it is easily applicable to the old generation machines, with a fairly limited economic intervention.
This allows pasta producers who do not have the possibility to carry out large-scale renovations for the renewal of their machinery, to have extremely rational and easy-to-use production lines while maintaining the same production technology. A fundamental solution, especially for medium-small pasta factories that have always made quality their strength, rather than quantity.
We also take into consideration that the combination of automation technology with low-temperature drying technology of the old-generation lines gave results of finished products (both in quality and quantity) better than those obtained before intervention, as it is possible to keep the entire drying process under control at all times, something previously impossible, because everything was entrusted to the experience and professionalism of the pasta maker, who manually carried out the maneuvers on the lines.
In the final analysis, we briefly mention some of the many advantages that information technology brings from the point of view of rationality and industrial logic, allowing for:
- better manage production, lowering costs,
- perform statistical analysis on the activity of the production lines to draw indications on the real reasons for the success or failure of a product,
- statistically analyze the most common faults and inconveniences in order to be certain to identify the weak points of the system;
- to know day by day the ordinary and extraordinary maintenance operations to be performed
- to analyze production data remotely (just a telephone connection), allowing direct and real-time supervision by managers and technicians who cannot move from one pasta factory to another.
This is only a brief summary, but in any case it is about real advantages which will correspond to an increasingly massive diffusion of process computing in the pasta factory, also thanks to the progressive improvement of the software.
The PIM solution
For over thirty years PIM has been offering its customers a complete service in the resolution and restoration of existing lines, marketing spare parts but also machines and systems, providing a complete installation, modernization, maintenance and after-sales service.
Find out why computerizing and automating lines and machines used for the production of dry pasta is advantageous